Written by Petricia Andini Hutasoit
Anak Sabangau (or ‘Children of Sabangau’) is an education programme of Borneo Nature Foundation based in the village of Kereng Bangkirai next to the Sabangau Forest. The children who join Anak Sabangau take part in our environmental education sessions every week, which follow different themes each month (like orangutans, recycling, threats, research, gibbons and forest fires).
Not only do the children learn through games and discussions in the village, they also join an excursion to a place of interest once every three months.
Over the past two months, the Anak Sabangau students have learned about peat-swamp forest and the threats to this habitat. They also took this learning one step further and discovered the solutions and personal actions that they can do to keep the forest safe.
The children were able to get first-hand experience to support these teachings as they visited Jumpun Pambelom last week. Jumpun Pambelom is a special place. It is a peat-swamp forest, which is home to over a hundred tree species, a seedling nursery, replanting area, educational centre and a local fire-fighting station.
There were 26 children from Anak Sabangau who joined the activities. They started the day with a walk to learn more about the biodiversity of the forest, such as the different tree species and what the benefits and uses are for people, they listened for animal sounds and learned about peat characteristics and water level measuring techniques.
The children visited the seedling nursery, which was followed by each child planting a tree so they could play a small part in reforesting this area during their visit. They also had the opportunity to try the fire hoses so they could see the effort and hard work needed to extinguish forest fires.
We hope these experiences will encourage the children to become more aware and more caring about the environment. We believe through environmental education they will be a generation who will be active in preserving their natural and cultural heritage for the future.